As discovered by Steve Troughton-Smith and Jonathan Levin and reported by 9to5 Mac, it looks likely that the iMac Pro—which Apple announced in June and said would ship by the end of the year—may contain an A10 processor.
It looks like the idea here is to boot the Mac into “BridgeOS” on the A10 first, then start up the Intel processor and give it firmware to load. In other words, the A10 would be the gatekeeper of the entire boot process. If so, this could lead to improved security on the Mac, and possibly make it much harder to run macOS on PC hardware in the future.
The A10 also includes a Secure Enclave, so it could potentially increase the security of operations on the Mac and potentially point to future support of Face ID on new Mac hardware. (But not the iMac Pro, if this report is accurate, because presumably the A11 inside the iPhone X is required for Face ID.)
I also wonder if perhaps it means that iOS developers will be able to simulate iOS devices with native ARM code. There are just so many possibilities out there—though it’s also worth mentioning that this is very much a first step. (Or second step, if you throw in the Apple Watch processor that’s included in the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.) The iMac Pro might be an experimental test case, with a few basic security features and support for “Hey Siri”.
There’s also a lot of resonance in this with the report of a hybrid Mac back in February from Bloomberg.
One of Apple’s great successes the past decade has been its transformation into a company that designs and uses its own chips in its products. Even if the Mac were to retain an Intel processor on the Mac for compatibility purposes, it’s not surprising that Apple might want to find ways to use the chips it builds for its other devices in the Mac as well.
—Linked by Jason Snell